The material goal driving all of our research is the return of property that was lost to persecution. In theory, this goal is straightforward. But in practice?
International genealogical and probate research helps us expedite the recovery process of looted art, cultural artifacts or other assets. This is especially necessary when descendants of a family member who was despoiled during the Second World War are unaware of the existence or location of a Will, which may govern the distribution of recovered artworks or other property.
Our researchers are able to identify each family member’s rightful share.
It can also be important if heirs of the despoiled family member have already post-deceased, in which case the Wills of the post-deceased are required before proceeding with distribution. In these instances, our researchers are able to search internationally for Letters of Probate, Certified Wills and Letters of Administration — identifying, in the process, each family member’s rightful share.
To further establish proof of entitlement, we locate the necessary vital statistics documents: birth, adoption, marriage, divorce and death certificates.
To address questions or challenges of a legal nature, our legal counsels conduct meticulous legal research in conjunction with our international team of lawyers and historical researchers.
Together, they bring extensive experience in their own fields and deliver unparalleled service and value. Working together, internationally, our legal, provenance and historical research team obtains and organizes the various exhibits required to prove our clients’ entitlement to despoiled property.
Ultimately, we meticulously conduct international provenance research to establish our clients’ entitlement to their family’s despoiled property. We carefully review exhibition catalogues, auction catalogues, art journals, newspaper articles, catalogues raisonnés, art dealer archives, archives containing claims for despoiled objects, and specialist libraries around the world. In addition to external records, we have also developed our own extensive, internal databases and libraries of archival documents on art sales, art dealers, art collectors, and art looters over the last decade.
Our researchers also gather records to reconstruct the circumstances, which led to the despoliation or sale under duress. Our clients directly benefit from the expertise and passion of our research and legal teams, which have been the keys to our successful restitution claims and we are honoured to be in a position to help our clients.